Release DetailsLABEL Century Media
RELEASED ON 10/3/2006
The Scattering Of Ashes
posted on 10/2006 By:
With all of the line up changes that seem to plague Into Eternity at every turn, fans of the band have to wonder how they’ve been able to overcome such adversity and still release quality metal on a consistent basis. Is Tim Roth really that fucking hard to work with? Is he somehow the long lost son of the very demanding yet incredibly talented Megadeth leader, Dave Mustaine? Another guy who has certainly dealt with his share of his employees getting tired of his act and flying the coop, with others getting kicked to the curb seemingly for no apparent reason at all. It’s almost fitting that Roth & crew are on the 2006 Gigantour lineup right along side Mega-Dave, and it’s almost laughable that their second guitarist recently flew into the wind mid tour. Regardless of what the causes are of all the internal strife, the band’s popularity is mounting and deservedly so.
The Scattering Of Ashes is Into Eternity’s finest effort to date, and that’s saying a lot because I didn’t think they could top 2004’s Buried In Oblivion. Continuing to incorporate many different sub-genres of metal, including traditional (Maiden, Priest), thrash (Megadeth, Nevermore), progressive (Dream Theater), and some hints of melodic death (more the American blend than European...latter day Death comes to mind), the group does a superb job at bringing each of these elements to light forming a beast of fierce intensity driven by the utmost determination. With a plethora of clean vocal harmonies that mesmerize to gut wrenching gutturals that downright pulverize, the band is in a league of its own when it comes to vocal presence. What does that mean? Well, it sure as hell doesn’t mean they reside at the top of the heap. But what it does mean is that their take on the mixture of dirty and clean singing ultimately sounds pretty damn original with all of the layered harmonies they throw the listener’s way from each member of the band. New lead vocalist Stu Block’s performance is top grade, bringing in a new element to the band’s oral assault with his Halford-esque screams. Though it’s nearly impossible to match the Metal God in sheer vocal power and brilliance, I’d say Block sounds much like the late, great Chuck Schuldiner did when he covered Priest’s "Painkiller" on 1998’s The Sound Of Perseverance. Stu’s delivery is less of a clean scream and more of a slightly gritty screech (not to mention his Chuck-like death growl), and god damn if it doesn’t make me feel like I’m 15 years old again every time I hear it, bringing back memories of metal in one of its truest and purest forms.
The songwriting is some of the best to be heard from the band out of their four releases. After a short but unnecessary intro, entitled "Novus Ineceptum", "Severe Emotional Distress" kicks off the music with a simple yet catchy riff that ultimately serves as the song’s chorus. Then the song kicks into a higher gear with a moderately intricate thrash riff that moves along beautifully thanks to Jim Austin’s double bass whaling. But that brings me to a major gripe of mine that I just can’t seem to overlook. The kick sound is borderline obnoxious, sounding almost like a wooden spoon rattling back and forth inside a paper bag. I'm not sure what went wrong or how it happened but it just sounds wet, mushy and very artificial. "Nothing" and "Timeless Winter" continue the onslaught and show the first examples of the Halford-isms brought in this time around. Both are great songs with a splendid display of Roth’s amazing guitar wizardry. One thing that does bother me though is some of his choices of melodic overlays that sometimes come across as if he’s brushing up on his skills with some finger exercises. Although very impressive in their own right, they are also very repetitious and just seem too flashy for their own good.
"Out" is next on the list and starts off with some blistering blast beats played underneath a head basher of a death riff, and "A Past Beyond Memory" maintains the intensity of the offensive containing some notable clean vocal harmonies sung over a simple yet effective riff. The riff is accompanied by some striking melodic licks that, in this case, do come across as very heartfelt and true to their sound. "Surrounded by Night" tones things down a bit much in the same way the title track did off of the band’s previous album, Buried In Oblivion. But while that song stayed acoustically clean throughout, this song builds in intensity and transcends into a very anthem-like section that starts right around the 2:50 mark. This section gradually builds up starting with a cool little riff by bassist Troy Bleich, which is joined by some noteworthy harmonies from the axe as well as the throat, then it slowly drops off to its soothing end. "Eternal" and "Pain Through Breathing" are great examples of how far the band has come with their songwriting ability. Both songs contain plenty of harmonic riffing with the latter spawning another rising scream at the 1:30 point that comes across as a Paul Di’anno blending styles with a Matt Barlow. "Suspension of Belief" comes next with some sparkling technical riffing while "Paralyzed" closes out the show with more blasting at the start followed by some sweeping arpeggios and complimentary tom work behind the kit. The song simply blisters along with a ferocity that should be heard on all album closers.
At the end of the day this is yet another step up in the songwriting department and I’ll be hard pressed not to include The Scattering Of Ashes in my top five at year’s end. Regardless of my gripes, the band has put together one of the year’s finest albums in my opinion, and fans of the band are in for a tasty treat. If you haven’t heard any music from this band before then I strongly recommend this album as well as anything else from their back catalogue. Oh, and by the way…all musicians should be on the lookout in the coming months; Mr. Roth quite possibly might be searching for some replacements.
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The Incurable Tragedy
9/2/2008 Into Eternity
Buried In Oblivion
2/10/2004 Into Eternity
Dead or Dreaming